Ben Roethlisberger has said that he expects the Steelers to bolster their offensive weapons early in the 2020 Draft.
The Steelers do not have a first-round pick, instead, they will be starting their selections in the second round with the 49th overall pick.
"“I still think they’ll address the offense,” said Roethlisberger, “We’ve gone defense in our top picks for a long time now and it showed. I’m excited about that defense. We’ll see what they decide when it comes to the draft.”"
The Steelers limped to an 8-8 record last year behind an anemic offense that stifled the work of a solid defense. Injuries to Juju Smith-Schuster, the leading receiver of the post-Antonio Brown era, did not help matters.
If Notre Dame’s Chase Claypool is still on the board when it is finally the Steelers’ turn, they would be wise to pick him to bolster the receiving corps.
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The Abbotsford, British Columbia native is 6’4, weighs 229 pounds, and ranks 116th overall on The Draft Network’s prospect rankings. He helped lead the Fighting Irish to an 11-2 record in 2019 behind his 66 receptions for 1,037 yards. His most eye-popping statistic, however, was his average of 15.7 yards per reception.
The Draft Network notes that Claypool “Has experience adjusting to erratic throws from the Notre Dame quarterbacks and he improved their accuracy,” which will allow him to adjust to an offense where the quarterback position is still in flux, with Roethlisberger returning from injury and the Steelers offense going through fits and starts in 2019 behind Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges.
Claypool’s height and size could also allow him to lend help at tight end, both as a short pass catcher and as a blocker on running plays, helping Derek Watt clear holes for James Conner or Benny Snell.
Of similar size and potentially of similar use in the Steelers offense are USC’s Michael Pittman, Jr. and Michigan’s Donovan Peoples-Jones. Pittman is 6’4 and 220 pounds, averaging 12.6 yards per reception last year.
Peoples-Jones is 6’2 and 208 pounds, and he averaged 12.9 yards in the 2019 campaign.
Pittsburgh has several areas they could elect to improve with an early-round draft choice, but the receivers were a notable weak spot last season, one they would do well to pay attention to as soon as they can.